Monday, June 15, 2009

NYT Tuesday 6/16/09 - Perp Lexing

Jack Ruby murdering Lee Harvey OswaldThis Tuesday New York Times crossword was my introduction to perp walks: I'd seen suspects being paraded on the TV news before, but didn't appreciate the tradition had such a colorful name. And I'd seen images of Lee Harvey Oswald being murdered while being transferred with press and TV coverage.

Ignorance of all this didn't stop me completing the puzzle OK, but now I understand the concept behind the grid, it goes up considerably in my estimation. I also love the cluing in this puzzle, particularly the clues to smog, she, it's you and rancher.
Solving time: 7 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 22a smog {Air apparent?}
Theme

Semper ParatusA perp walk, indicated by 47d perps {Those "walking" through the answers to the starred clues}. The letters of perp appear consecutively in five long answers:
17a tamper-proof {Impervious to picking, as a lock}
25a copperplate {Engraver's surface}
36a semper paratus {Motto of the U.S. Coast Guard}
47a paper-pusher {Routine-bound bureaucrat}
57a superpowers {Countries with big militaries}
Semper paratus ("always ready") is a popular Latin tag for military and emergency organizations.

Solution

Paula Gamache
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersPaula Gamache / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.05)
Theme squares61 (32.6%)
Scrabble points295 (average 1.58)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

56a Ric {Rocker Ocasek}. Ric Ocasek was a singer and guitarist for The Cars, going solo and focusing on producing records when the influential band split up.



Uta Hagen with Paul Robeson2d Uta {Hagen of Broadway}. Uta Hagen (19192004) was a German-born American actress and teacher. Wait a minute ... that sounds familiar: she came up in a March NYT crossword and seems to be The Official Uta of Crosswords, so I really should have remembered the name - sometimes it takes a couple of occurrences before a name sticks in the crossword memory.

60d Stu {"The ___ Erwin Show" of 1950s TV}. Interesting that the first and last down answers are alphabetical bookends: RST and STU. With the former, there's no getting away from the weak "alphabetical trio" type of clue; with the latter, there are better-justified answers in Stu Erwin (19031967) and namesakes, allowing more clue variety. Stu, typically cast as an amiable oaf, was a film actor who made the transition to television in the 1950s with The Trouble with Father aka The Stu Erwin Show.



Noteworthy

Red Swingline14a staple {Swingline item}. I wondered if Staplo was a brand name for a stapler, to fit with for for "agin" in 6-Down until realizing that staple/fer matched the clues perfectly. Swingline reintroduced a limited edition red stapler after it featured in the cult movie Office Space.



22a smog {Air apparent?}; 34d rancher {Owner of a brand?}. A couple of nicely misleading clues, the first a great pun on "heir apparent".

She loves me, She loves me not64a she {Petal plucker's pronoun}. "She loves me, she loves me not" ... a fine example of how to liven a common three-letter answer - great clue.

pending65a pend {Remain undecided}. This seemed a little obscure for a Tuesday, as you see pend in the infinitive much less than pending.

66a it's you {Compliment heard in the dress department}. Another lovely cluing idea, ducking the obvious reference to the many songs titled It's You.

6d fer {Not agin}. I had for to start with, but 14-Across didn't make much sense with that and, in any event, the "agin" in the clue called for a dialect rendering. A slightly easier clue than May 29th's "Backwoods pro?".

The Rest

1a run off {Leave in a hurry}; 7a saws {Toothed tools}; 11a cab {Where a truck driver sits}; 15a crop {Field yield}; 16a olé {Corrida cheer}; 19a MCI {Telecom giant acquired by Verizon}; 20a -ese {Legal ending}; 21a ease {Leisure}; 23a sot {"Liquid diet" devotee}; 28a in a heap {Piled carelessly}; 30a -iest {Superlative suffix}; 31a repo {Seized vehicle}; 32a terrace {High-rise apartment garden site}; 40a bussing {Playful kissing}; 41a ents {Middle-earth creatures}; 43a Parr {Catherine, the last wife of Henry VIII}; 45a cuddles {Nestles}; 51a IMs {Online communications, for short}; 52a eras {Notable times}; 53a ante {Start the kitty}; 54a yak {Tibetan beast}; 61a pah {Part of a tuba's sound}; 62a Asia {Vietnam's continent}; 63a sunlit {Naturally illuminated}.

1d RST {Q-U connection}; 3d nametape {Camp clothing identifier}; 4d opps. {Antonyms: Abbr.}; 5d fleece {Lamb's coat}; 7d scrap {Bit of fabric}; 8d arose {Got out of bed}; 9d wooer {Affection seeker}; 10d SPF {Tanning lotion letters}; 11d commas {,,,,,}; 12d Alcott {"Little Women" author}; 13d beige {It's darker than cream}; 18d peppers {Jalapeños and chilies}; 22d sleeted {Rained pellets}; 23d sir {Knight's title}; 24d ones {Bills in tills}; 26d Oates {Hall's singing partner}; 27d pica {Type size}; 29d hombres {Men of La Mancha}; 33d RPI {Sch. in Troy, N.Y.}; 35d argue {Debate the pros and cons}; 37d purr {Sign of a contented cat}; 38d unlikely {Improbable}; 39d stem {Flower holder}; 42d sss {Deflation sound}; 43d pariah {Persona non grata}; 44d Apache {Geronimo's tribe}; 46d dry out {Recover from a soaking}; 48d pause {YouTube button}; 49d unpin {Remove, as a corsage}; 50d stead {Lieu}; 55d awns {Barley beards}; 57d sap {Knucklehead}; 58d psi {Letter before omega}; 59d Rio {___ Grande}.

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